Friday, 3 March 2017

“We need to make a permanent repair”

Thus the faintly threatening and portentous headline to a letter received this morning. No repair needed to the Prediction site, all contributors (and thank you to Antonia for her sterling recruitment) functioning most excellently. So much so that it has once more been difficult to select a winner, but the clean simplicity and knock-out punch of Patricia’s ‘Those in Peril’ impressed on every reading.

Of course, it is not only the writing that adds strength to this site – reading others’ varied approaches to the same set of prompt words is ever-fascinating, but to know we’ve been read and (hopefully) enjoyed is also important, so please do make and effort to comment. 

Words for next week: fine, jargon, pecuniary         

Entries by midnight Thursday 9th March, new words ONLY posted on Friday 10th

I shall be up in Gretna on a crime writing weekend so would you please choose your favourite and let us know on next Friday’s post

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and use of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever social media.

135 comments:

  1. Congratulations Patricia. The macabre little twist at the end worked wonderfully. And now ... to the next challenge. CHAAARRGE!



    BEHIND CLOSED EARTH


    “So Charon … right? He stretches out his bony hand, and I’m like WHAT??!”

    Persephone smiled gently at the Titaness. “He does require his pecuniary token.”

    Rhea looked askance. “Did you just say ‘pecuniary’? You’ve really got into this posh Underworld jargon, haven’t you?”

    Persephone winked. “We do what we can for our man. So … did you have to go
    back for money?”

    Rhea raised a mocking eyebrow. “Nah, I paid the fine – a kiss.”

    “He went for that?”

    “They all do.”

    Persephone laughed. “Don’t they just.”

    Rhea eyed her friend’s distended abdomen. “Just pomegranate seed, huh?”

    Demeter’s daughter blushed coyly

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    Replies
    1. There's fast off the mark Perry - and with such a wonderfully resourceful, inventive and entertaining piece. So good to be reminded of words such as 'askance' (and note to self to re-read Greek legends).

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    2. Thank you Sandra - no point me wasting a good sleepless night. ;)

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    3. Very nice little story. You managed to make it feel longer than it was -- you know, in a good way. Well done!

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    4. Perry, a nicely done piece, good use of prompts and Greek mythology.

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    5. Thank you, Jeff. The mthology was always my favourite part of Latin class. And finding out that the Romans had filched their theology from the Greeks, I just had to visit the originals. Amazing the crossover similarities between disparate mythologies. It gives great insight into the history behind the recorded.

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    6. I just adore "takes" on accepted mythological tales. This was no exception. Lovely integration of the prompt words too. Like AR mentioned, it seemed to feel much longer than the word limitation allows. Nicely done.

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    7. Thank you, Patricia, glad you enjoyed it.

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    8. Good piece, Perry. Very amusing.

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    9. very clever story, Perry, loved it.

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    10. Loved the nod to Greek myth, and the humor of the piece. Also, spot on with that title!

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  2. Don't you love it when you post something only to realize immediately that you made a mistake? Fun times.

    Let's try that again...

    Customer Service

    Ideally, I’m a ghost. In and out without a trace of evidence. That’s my preference. But the client was adamant. She wanted him to know.

    Fine. It’s not my style, but fine. Customer service and all.

    Of course, he had questions. I suppose that’s fair. I’d feel similarly inquisitive were I in his shoes. So I tried to be respectfully, chiefly by being frank.

    “Candice hired me. In the parlance of my profession, you’re the mark.”

    “But why?!” he pleaded.

    I shrugged. “Pecuniary needs.”

    I’m not sure what confused him more. The gun at his head or my jargon.

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    1. This is a hoot, and that's good. An assassin who cares about customer service during the job and not just after it.

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    2. Yes, it is the strength of the narrator's voice that is most impressive here; swiftly followed by the entertainment of the piece.

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    3. This was exceedingly entertaining and moved along at a nice clip as well. That first line was an amazing hook leading into the remainder of the tale. And that last line deserves to be immortalized.

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    4. Awesome. Get the whole essence of the character in only a few words. Good job!

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    5. AR, another wonderful piece from you!

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    6. Patricia said it well - great opener and an excellent hook! Loved the dark humor.

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  3. Great little excerpt. I think you meant respectful instead of "respectfully" though. It doesn't take away from the quality. Good basis as well for a longer piece.

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  4. Jeffrey here from work;

    Patricia, ����on your story taking top honors last week. It was a rather 'bell ringing' submission.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jeffrey. I think. I'm really not quite sure what you're telling me, to be honest. LOL.

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  5. ::::Rubs hands gleefully. Yes! We get to choose this week::::

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  6. Torch Wood Diner-Epilogue

    As the two couples left,
    “Warren, you did fine, they’re in love.”
    “Carly, you loved me more than I loved you.”
    “Dear, love has no scale; pecuniary or balance. You either are or aren’t.”
    “Love’s jargon says different; Gold Digger, Cougar, May-December, oh and Sugar Daddy, all done by scale.”
    “Wrong Warren, it’s a total eclipse of the sun, like clouds in your coffee, a heartbeat is a love beat.”
    “Whatever. What’s our next stop?”
    “Upstate New York, a guy want’s to become a writer.”
    “You’ll have him write a love song for you and me.”
    “With tenderness and feeling.”

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    1. Why rings are round.

      Jeffrey, I was galloping along with you there not even noticing the prompts and enjoying the narrative and poetic rhythm. And though it stumbled a bit in the last five lines, I still enjoyed … and especially the play on apart “a part”. I couldn’t find the “fine” prompt – was “finite” your go at that or did you forget to fit it in before “wine”?


      Torch Wood Diner-Epilogue

      No clue what the title is about, but this is a sweet and humorous bit of prose on the same theme as the poem.. Throwing in all those clichés – shame on you. ;)

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    2. Jeff here:

      Perry, thanks for you comments. Yes, finite was my attempt to use fine, hope that counts. I'm on the newer side for poetry, two years of experience.

      The Torch Wood Diner started as just that, then branched into the two gentlemen's dinner and rejoined this week. The Diner's motto, in the first submission several weeks past was "Where Time Stands Still" and it looks like a open top double decker bus, with windows shaped liked phone booths. As an FYI Warren is Warren Beatty and Carly is Carly Simon.

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    3. Hope it counts too, Jeff. And Oh, Brilliant bit of info you provide here on Diner, Warren and Carly. Bet he thinks the story is about him. ;) Never heard of the diner before -thanks. I immediately - embarrassingly - thought of the SF Tv series Torchwood - (chronic blushes).

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    4. Sorry Jeffrey, I'd say 'finite' is no way derived from any definition of 'fine' (but since I'm not judging this week you could hope others may be more lax)

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    5. I rarely bet and when I do it's on what I can control, so I removed the inaccurate piece and posted a corrected version.
      As a side note, it doesn't seem that an edit is possible for a posted piece.

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    6. Nice nod to Carly Simon's "You're So Vain." Did she ever confirm it was directed at Warren Beatty? Regardless, another expertly constructed piece with that unique voice of yours.

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    7. Patricia, Craly told People magazine that the second verse was about Warren.

      You had me several years ago when I was still quite naive
      Well you said that we made such a pretty pair
      And that you would never leave
      But you gave away the things you loved and one of them was me
      I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee
      Clouds in my coffee, and …

      Of course she also had dalliances with Mick Jagger, Kris Kristofferson, Jack Nicholson and Cat Stevens.

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    8. An interesting, flowing piece. Loved the use of 'clouds in my coffee'.

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    9. I'm with Zaiure. That's a beautiful turn of phrase.

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    10. Thank you all for your comments, just an FYI, I live in upstate New York.

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  7. Of Choice

    Not all imposed fines are pecuniary. I see you are baffled. Perhaps the jargon has confused you. Allow me to clarify.

    The penalty for a transgression isn't always enforced courtesy of monetary reparation. Your offense, for example, is punishable by a different means altogether, which is not to say you won't have a voice in the matter. After all, we are far from totally ruthless.

    Now, which limb would you prefer to lose?

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    1. Er... could you sever the local branch of my bank, Don Purvisioni? A branch is a limb. Clever little piece

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    2. I love the staccato succinctness with which you have told this, while smoothly inserting the required prompts.

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    3. Creepy and funny at once. Very cool piece.

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    4. Congrats on the win last week, Patricia!
      Been bogged down this week in writing nasty letters to people like banks and councils about how to make their letters a little more customer friendly. I write them in red...

      This is so clever, loved it. It will stay with me every time I have to enter my local Natwest branch...

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    5. Clever and dark, with the last two lines my absolute favorite.

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    6. I like that this is written to the reader. It adds something.

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  8. Oh, how magnanimous of them and a rather bone chilling option. Nicely done.

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  9. Change of focus [225]

    Adjudging it unnecessary to immediately acquaint the now-hiccupping Barbara Bailiwick with the peculiar (not to say pecuniary) contents of her husband’s stomach, and having ensconced her in what was euphemistically called the Comfort Suite – an interview room made less daunting by the addition of settee and flowers, and windows from which trees were visible, the jargon of whose sparrow population added further normality – Pettinger estimated, from the finely-drawn lines from nose to mouth, around her eyes, she was in her early fifties.
    ‘Your husband, what did he do for a living?’
    A startled glare. ‘You’ve not heard of Roger Bailiwick?’

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    1. What beautiful description in this piece. Using ensconced was nice. Well done story.

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    2. The Comfort Suite seems designed to lull one into a false sense of security. That last remark/question appears almost indignant. Looking forward to where this goes next, I can tell you.

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    3. An elegant and atmospheric vignette, Sandra. A joy to read.

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    4. nothing less than your usual very high standards, with a very interesting last line. Hope you get to write over this weekend, sounds interesting.

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    5. Love how you manage to convey so much personality for characters with carefully crafted lines. 'A startled glare' immediately put a voice in my head of an elegant, high society lady. :)

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    6. "Ensconced" doesn't get nearly enough airtime. What a great word, put to good use here.

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  10. When ignorance is not exactly bliss

    Fine-plucked eyebrows circumflexed above irises the smokey ochre of ancient beeswax, whose hardness matched the jargon they resembled.
    ‘Jason, it is considered vulgar to express a concern for the pecuniary, but since you ask, fifty for a blow-job, two grand for a fuck and no bareback.’

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    1. Talk about cutting a tale to the bare minimum. This was done with an expert hand. The descriptions, for such a short piece, conveyed so much that it's hard to believe it wasn't necessary to use more words. Some variance in menu prices there. I think I'd like to see more of this enterprising lady. Assuming, of course, that it is a female, which was not exactly defined and which makes it all the more intriguing.

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    2. Choke! What a jack-knife of a microtale! The first sentence is an absolute envy, and the whipcrack humour of the denouement an ice-water finish.

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    3. Ha, thanks folks - I decided the sentence was too good for Pettinger but should have thought more carefully about the pricing.

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    4. Short, excellent piece, and I absolutely adore the imagery from your first line - 'eyebrows circumflexed above irises the smokey ochre of ancient beeswax, whose hardness matched the jargon they resembled'. Brilliant!

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    5. Wow. Perfectly punchy. Love it.

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  11. She keeps Moet & Chandon in her pretty cabinet. Using all the senses, including humor.

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  12. A Call To Order

    In a boardroom high above a broken city, its view blackened with smog, two men stand before thirteen well-dressed clones. One is a powerful senator; the other a political blogger.
    One of the board members speaks, yet no mouths move.
    “Pecuniary or corrective?”
    “What?” whispers Blogger.
    “It’s upper-crust jargon for fine or penalty,” Senator replies.
    “But I don’t have any money.”
    “It’s a business, Kid.”
    The voice speaks.
    “Will you join us for lunch, Senator?”
    “Of course.”
    A page brings forks, sharp knives, and bibs. Blogger looks around, confused.
    “Bon appetite, gentlemen,” Senator says. His first stab pierces Blogger’s heart.

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    1. Welcome Gary - what a chilly, chilling piece you have penned here.

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    2. Let me see, blood pudding, blood sausage, blood pancakes. This is a new twist of beef tartar though. Yes, chillingly raw, yet macabre as well.

      Welcome Gary and a very nice piece indeed.

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    3. So many new good writers showing up lately and here is another! As Sandra remarked, this was a chilling tale and so very current. I would like to extend a welcome into the fold of this macabre little area we call home. Do hope you'll return.

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    4. Thanks folks. I can't say I'll be here too much. 100 words is a good exercise, but not really my thing. There are a lot of good writers here, however, so I'll certainly pop in for a read regularly.

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    5. Hi Gary and welcome.
      I recommend people come here every week and take part, it does wonders for your writing as a whole. Mine has changed dramatically in the five or so years I've been participating, it's changed my editing too, I cut more than I used to, bringing out the essence of the story, as you have done here. This is clever and cold at the same time.

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    6. A multi-layered piece with a current tone, as Patricia suggested. I loved how you set the scene so clearly with that first line of a dark, broken city.

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    7. Showing my ignorance here - I'm as confused as the Blogger. Hope I don't end up like him/her.

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    8. You did a fine job of packing a lot into a small amount of space. Very well done.

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  13. Now I meet the required use of the prompts.

    Why Rings are Round

    There is no ‘little bit’ to being pregnant.
    Could the same jargon apply to love?
    Or, can there be a ‘little bit’?
    The first crush, a tentative kiss,
    Holding hands, then wedded bliss?
    Is hearing with your eyes and seeing with a heart
    Something you do because you’re a part?
    Who decided, that pecuniary bling
    Should cost two months for her ring?
    Love might be like a cake, for in making it, you’re never sad,
    Yet others could say it’s a fine wine that sours going bad.
    All has gone full circle,
    If asked to bring home the pregnancy kit.


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    1. Neat delivery and nice connection between beginning and end. In my opinion, this is one of your best pieces.

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    2. Loved how this circled back at the end. I thought it flowed very nicely and love's comparison to a fine wine that may sour.

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  14. Utter Despair

    Midilynn typed pecuniary into her Word page and looked up its meaning. Some kind of monetary term. The synonyms confirmed it but didn’t help. Sweat dripped onto her desk blotter as she tried different angles, varied the jargon to deflect her intent. Nothing. With a trembling hand she opened her desk drawer and stared at the silver plated derringer that lay among the pencils and paper clips. It was a fine piece, handed down from her father long ago. She picked it up. Turning it toward her face, she squeezed the trigger and used it to light her cigarette.

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    1. Welcome John - and what a clever entertaining piece, nor least for sending me to my OED to check derringer. Smoothly done.

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    2. Sweet piece - by which I don't mean the literal but the vernacular. Welcome.

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    3. tis a good one, John, about a million miles from the drafts you sent me this week! This is how I know you can write.

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    4. Greetings and welcome, John. This is a nicely written piece, very good ending along with descriptions.

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    5. I will also add my welcome, John. You certainly drew me in and had me peeking between fingers for the conclusion. Lovely little twist. And yet another fine addition to this form's cast of characters.

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    6. Excellent twist at the end, as it was not what I expected. Loved the atmosphere of this piece.

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    7. What a well constructed scene. Great closing line.

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  15. Further frustration [Threshold 154]

    Among myriad other documents, of varied value and interest, we found my father’s papers, appropriated, after his death, by O’Bedrun who, despite denial of a paprika-kindled beard, claimed partial kinship (albeit sufficiently removed to permit his attempting to breed with me.)

    Raven and I spent the night perusing, in hope the fine-writ calligraphy – pale as long-dead spiders – would spell secrets of my worth, whether in pecuniary terms or some strange way, genetic, but so much a jargon was it that spiders could have scribed it before they died.
    ‘Then how,’ asked Raven, ‘did O’Bedrun come to decipher it?’
    ‘He lied.’

    [This episode of Threshold, refers to events related in episodes 102-110. For newcomers, it would require a marathon catch-up to read either Threshold or A change of Focus in their entireties but both are available via the page tabs on my blog lines of communication linked in the RH column]

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    1. Lovely use of language and imagery.

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    2. Great piece. Pacing was terrific and I particularly enjoyed the parenthetical reference to O'Bedrun, painting him as a villain with but a few words. I din't feel the 'pale as long-dead spiders' comparison. Might just be me, though.

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    3. some terrific descriptions here, enviable ones...

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    4. Loved the line; pale as long dead spiders. Haven't seen the word perusing in a while.

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    5. I constantly get lost in the story when I read this serial, which never fails to end on a punch of a line. Beautiful descriptions that are indeed quite "scribal" in nature.

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    6. So many beautiful lines! Loved the 'paprika-kindled beard', 'pale as long-dead spiders' and 'was it that spiders could have scribed it before they died'.

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    7. "pale as long-dead spiders" -- YES. I hate that you wrote that. I wish I had!

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  16. SERENITY

    The poet stopped to enjoy air fresh and scented with growth, in vital contrast to the dusty country road he had trod.

    Absorbing the qualified silence where – as poetic jargon would have it – only nature speaks, he took great breaths.

    In the otherwise clear sky, a cloud passed over nearby hills; its shadow slithering sensually down their slopes, obliquely threatening the fine weather.

    Taking the Dictaphone from his pocket, he began to compose the poem ‘Beauty of Killea’ while reflecting on how the qualitative delights of inspiration by far outweighed the pecuniary.

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    1. Oh, those shadows of sensual slithering clouds - so vivid. And how true the tale.

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    2. Thank you, Sandra - glad you liked it.

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    3. the dangling participle stopped me for a moment or three, which is a shame, it was going well up to that moment...

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    4. Does inspiration (maybe happiness) have a price, is what I take from this. Your descriptions are very evoking.

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    5. This is very poetic both in its nature and its message. I was not expecting the appearance of a dictaphone and always like to be surprised. Nicely done.

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    6. I've been seeking to read more pieces about nature, so thoroughly enjoyed the scene you laid out here. Loved the phrasing of the cloud's shadow 'slithering sensually down their slopes'.

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    7. Thank you all - your feedback is immensely gratifying.

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    8. The literal poet mixed with the poetry of the prose made for a nice combination.

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  17. I appear to be having no end of trouble in putting together something that makes sense for either of my serials given this week's prompts. I still have a few days of brainstorming remaining but regardless, I will be back later in the week to comment and vote. So many good stories incorporating the prompts already. I'm feeling rather inadequate....

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    1. You've said that before, Patricia, and then knocked us out ... I agree, though, I didn't like them much, but was under pressure to get them done earlier rather than later.

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    2. Definitely can feel tricky sometimes. I wrote my piece beginning of the week, but wasn't sure if I could come up with something better, so held it until this morning. Some weeks are easier than others!

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  18. Something finally kind of came together for "Cripplegate." I'm not entirely happy with it, but doubt I'll come up with anything better, so here goes...
    -----------------------------------------

    Cripplegate Junction/Part 86-Eye Of A Needle

    The Station Master was in the mood for a chat.

    "What led you to a pecuniary profession, dear chap? COGS, CAPs and PVs are symbolic of a dull existence after all."

    Clive Bailey was stunned.

    "Surprised?" asked the Station Master. "At my command of the jargon or my awareness of your chartered accountancy? Of course, money provides finer things in life, but it IS the root of all evil."

    "The child would show you her embroidery project," said Miss Constance entering the Canteen with Alice.

    "Such extraordinary talent," said the Station Master. "Much like the one who taught her."

    He regarded Clive with a smile.

    "Wouldn't you say, old boy?"

    --------------------------------------------------------
    To read the earlier installments (a suggestion only) which led to this point in the tale please visit:
    http://www.novareinna.com/cripplegate.html
    A link to return to "The Prediction" can be found on the site. Thank you.
    ---------------------------------------------------------


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    1. Yet another example of your cleverly stage-managing your characters into subtly-menacing situations.

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    2. that's a brilliant depiction of the characters through dialogue. Good one, Patricia

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    3. Very good dialog, Patricia, especially how you provided some background on the Station Master. Very well done.

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    4. Sandra said best what I was thinking, about your brilliant maneuvering of the characters. :) The story continues to intrigue me.

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  19. Well, some things came up which ate away my time and my brainstorming was going no place anyway, so there will not be a "Kursaal" episode this week. I shall return later today with my remaining comments and to throw my vote into the winner's circle. It ain't gonna be an easy choice!

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  20. Infinity 189.
    The new First Mate has a pecuniary leaning, calculating the value of the fine loot we took from the merchantman. I am bothered by this and his use of jargon, if he thinks he’s going to get one over this here cap’n, then he is mistaken.
    The ocean has been bereft of shipping, as if someone warned them the Infinity is on the lookout again, but Lady Luck has been good to us, we will find more loot ere long. Before then I think this crew needs women and grog. I had best check the nearest port for that.

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    1. Edward already with the subjective eye, yet always with the concern for his crew.

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    2. Seems the Captain is not entirely happy with his new crew and the First Mate certainly appears to warrant suspicion. And that diligent Captain...forever on the lookout for entertainment to keep his shipmates happy. This serial always transports me to another world.

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    3. The Captain continues to meet challenge after challenge! I'm very intrigued by the First Mate, and what he may be up to.

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    4. He doesn't have much luck with his First Mates, does he?

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  21. my choice for winner, Patricia's 'Of Choice' is THE one. The others were good, but that was outstanding, IMO

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    1. I second the nomination. :) Though my other choice would have to be Sandra's When ignorance is not exactly bliss. I adore the description in the first sentence, and it is tight writing indeed!

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  22. Summoning [7]

    Plucking languidly at the fine, blue strands of her uncombed hair, Royal stared hard at the center of Callon’s forehead. Avoiding his gaze was nothing new. With measured slowness, Callon placed the grisly photos on the table, then leaned back in his chair. Jaen began to tap her foot impatiently, until Callon put a stilling hand on her knee.

    “Sirius,” Royal said, without looking down.

    “Yes.”

    “Sadly no longer beleaguered by the pecuniary difficulties gifted by Lennox.”

    “Seems not. You see the words? Indecipherable jargon to Jaen and me.”

    “It’s ritualistic Keldoorian.” Royal met Callon’s eyes. “It’s a summoning.”

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    1. A summoning, now was it magic or just knowig who would read it? A very well done story.

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    2. A "summoning." Now I really like the sound of that! I can relate to the constant movement that needs "stilling." I tend to jiggle one of my legs up and down all the time, especially when I' concentrating. I think it's become a habit now. I truly envy your ease in using this week's prompt words. I ran into no end of brick walls.

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    3. Thank you both! @Patricia I also have a tendency to bounce my leg, or at the very least, my foot. :) Constantly in motion!

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    4. Air-tight description. I like "measured slowness" especially. Two words that conjure an entire mood.

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    5. I'm with AR on that 'measured slowness' - an enviable conjunction

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  23. it was almost impossible to decide but Patricia came out top because of my current feelings about these people!!!

    Episode 7 carries the story onward really well. Good one.

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  24. I had such a hard time, but I'm going with A.R.'s Customer Service, just edging out Sandra's Change of Focus.

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  25. After much agonizing deliberation (not to mentions scrolling up and down countless times to read and read again), my vote this week is going to: A.R. Martin's "Customer Service." What a great week this was for amazing entries. The quality just gets higher and higher.

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  26. If the Shoe Fits

    "That's a twenty-dollar fine, mister."

    They were both looking at the spittle on his desk. My client gathered another round, but he couldn't afford that; not if he was going to pay me.

    "That's enough, Joey. Sergeant, I'll cover the fine and post his bail."

    Joey glared at me. The cop laughed. "So, he don't take care of his own pecuniary matters?"

    "Why, you!" I was braced for the lunge, and pulled him back. "Relax, kid, it's just jargon."

    "I know what it means! He's sayin' I got a small, you know, thing."

    I'll definitely earn my fee this time.

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    1. You always manage to extract a chuckle and the words are always so atmospheric. Yet another fine example.

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    2. I laughed aloud at this! Language can be so humorous and confusing at times. :)

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  27. The Adventures of Rosebud, Pirate Princess #67
    A Wonderful Cycle of Stupidity and Anger


    I don’t like jargon. It’s useful in certain circumstances but way too many people have used it to create terrible things. Those people can’t stand that others have some kind of pecuniary advantage over them. Some of them create monsters for one purpose, which are easy to capture. Others create general use monsters sold to the highest bidder. These ones cause all sorts of destruction and mayhem. Of course, since these people are rich all we can do is fine them.

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    1. And our Princess is somewhat reflective in this piece. Had a much different feel but equally as enjoyable and full of the usual whimsy.

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    2. A thoughtful, revealing piece. I felt the frustration come through.

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    3. Confusion of a pampered princess of Marie Antoinette ilk beautifully described here.

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    4. Indeed, as others have said, the princess is in sombre mood.

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